Most weeks, my to-do list seems endless, and last week was no exception. I hit the ground running on Monday with a full schedule, but my plans quickly came to a halt as sickness forced me to stop and rest. Although that rest seemed inconvenient at first, it gave me time to reflect on the last year of running Laude Designs and the real reason my small shop has made it this far.
50% of small businesses close within the first five years. I have read that statistic countless times since I started Laude Designs last Spring. I can’t imagine Laude failing after the amount of work I have put into it in one year – let alone five! But after one year of running my own small business, I understand this statistic more than I did when I first read it. Starting and running a business is hard work.
Since the majority of my work is done out of my home, there is never a point where I “leave the office.” It’s always there and there is always more work that can be done. One of the most difficult things about running my own business has been learning how much time to invest in it.
For a long time, I struggled with knowing when to stop working. I would feel guilty if I had free time at home and wasn’t using it to do something for Laude. I had to come to the point of recognizing the importance of taking a break – the value of rest.
Rest is Productive
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I am big on productivity and being intentional with my time! That is probably why it has been hard for me to learn the value of rest. But last week, during my “forced” time of rest, I was reminded that rest is actually a part of being productive. Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is to cease working, step back, reflect on what you have made, and return to it later with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
Many times, when I am working on a new design or project for a long period of time, the best thing I can do is put it away for a few hours (or a few days). When I return to it, I am able to see adjustments or changes that I would have missed if I had not taken the time to allow my mind and ideas to be refreshed.
Rest is Release
Another reason rest is valuable is because it helps me remember that I am not running my business alone. As a Christian, I look to God as the sustainer of all things, and that includes my work! In Tim Keller’s book, Every Good Endeavor, He writes about this concept in such a eye-opening way – specifically noting the establishment of the Sabbath as a time to rest from work:
“We are to think of the Sabbath as an act of trust. God appointed the Sabbath to remind us that He is working and resting. To practice Sabbath is a disciplined and faithful way to remember that you are not the one who keeps the world running, who provides for your family, not even the one who keeps your projects moving forward. Entrepreneurs find it especially difficult to believe this… If they don’t put in the hours, things don’t get done. How easy to fall prey to the temptation to believe that they alone are holding up their corner of creation! You must see that God is there – you are not alone in your work.”
When I take time to rest, I am releasing my need for control over my business. Ultimately, I don’t want Laude to be in my own hands. If it is, I know that it will be among the 50% of small businesses that shut down within the first five years. I have come this far because of the sustaining strength, blessings, and goodness of the Lord. By that same sustainment, I will continue on.
“Cease striving and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10